Do reviews hurt or help your small business? Well according to research, a negative review can hurt your business by 22%, and that percentage increases with every additional negative review. The quality of those negative reviews also makes a difference. Something that is uncontrollable like postal shipping damages or lost packages often gets overlooked if the business is making sure their customers are compensated.
How trusting are consumers when it comes to reviews? As of a 2020, Consumer Survey of top review sites 79% of average consumers trust online reviews. This percentage of trust changes with different age groups as well. That percentage of trust goes up in the younger and older age groups and trends down with the middle age groups.
Trust in review sites is also on a rapid decline due to the overwhelming number of fake reviews being left by people being incentivized to give 5-star reviews, there is also news of competitors hiring teams of people to leave negative reviews of the competition.
The sites to pay attention to where consumers are using to find businesses and read reviews are:
*In order of popularity.
Covid-19 also has brought in some recent changes to how reviews are being used to lead consumers to a certain business. As of the 1st Quarter, 2021 U.S. Census Bureau report E-commerce sales rose 7.7% which is an incredibly high jump in sales over a single quarter. So as consumers moved to the web for their needs this caused review interaction to skyrocket and are now leveling out around 50% higher than pre-pandemic levels. (This research article you can see here at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science for the United States of America will really shine a lot of light on how Covid-19 had a devastating effect on our small businesses.)
As the threat of Covid-19 changed how we as consumers went about finding what we needed so did how reviews became vital information about what you may be getting from a business. As never before seen online shopping and services took off and even though businesses and the economy are opening back up, it is unlikely that the world ever goes back to consuming the way they did pre-pandemic.
When writing a review or responding to a consumer, make sure you understand that the review means something to the consumer and the business. Reviews are not meant to be taken lightly. Both Consumers and businesses can learn and take something from the reviews left for them. The review is the first line of interaction between a consumer and a business in most cases. So, make those reviews count and be constructive and not destructive!